Wild Honey is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Guillermo Farré. His debut album, Epic Handshakes And A Bear Hug, was released in 2009 and contained a lion’s share of twee pop songs. Since then he’s decided to ditch his own bedroom and has instead gone into a proper recording studio for the follow-up, Big Flash, which sees him pretty much carrying on where he left off. Those who enjoyed his previous work will lap it up, but there’s also plenty to entice new fans.
Assisting him is Stereolab guitarist/keyboardist Tim Gane, and it’s a partnership that has clearly given Farré a fresh jolt of energy. The kaleidoscopic artwork of Big Flash might be striking, but it’s also a little misleading; as much as there is variety on show, it retains a certain atmosphere that runs all the way through and is impressively consistent. And while the LP is as tight and compact as its predecessor, there seems to be more urgency this time round, as well as a subtle amount of polish.
Dreamy textures dominate the likes of My Memory May Also Be A Wish and the wistful See How Hard My Heart Is Beating, the latter in particular coming across as the musical equivalent of a half-remembered daydream. Elsewhere, the opening orchestral flourish of Rogerio Duprat Looks Out The Window gives way to a flamenco-infused gem whilst the almost stubbornly jolly Gothic Fiction is a breezy and jaunty number that has a hefty spring in its step.
Admittedly, you’d be hard pressed to get a deeply emotional response from any of this, a fact tracks titled An Army Of Fat Synths and Keyboards Under A Microscope inadvertently highlight. That said, you’d also be equally hard pressed to resist the lure of Farré’s expertly crafted melodies. There is something hugely likeable about the retro stylings of It’s All In The Film, with its marriage of surf guitars, airy synths and heavenly backing vocals.
The odd moment of filler crops up every now and again – Scissors In Hand and Tooth Tree don’t seem to add anything – but there is much charm to be found. As an album it works rather well. These are 12 songs that, regardless of quality, don’t overstay their welcome (hardly any song goes further than the three minute barrier) and flow brilliantly. It’s easy for nearly all of these tunes to just float on by without making a dent on first listen, but as an album it’s worth persevering with. The more chances the listener is willing to give it, the more likely the hooks are going to remain fixed in the memory. Big Flash is not likely to set the world on fire, but it’s very enjoyable.